Sonia Furstenau is in a powerful position with the Green Party in a minority provincial government. (file)

Sonia Furstenau is in a powerful position with the Green Party in a minority provincial government. (file)

Furstenau says minority government good news

Cowichan Valley’s Green MLA looks forward to “cooperative and collaborative” government

Cowichan Valley’s Sonia Furstenau is confident a minority government in B.C. will be good for the province and her riding.

Furstenau, one of the three Green Party members who won their ridings in the provincial election on May 9, said that with the province so divided politically, she knew it was possible the Green Party could hold the balance of power once the final election results were in.

And with NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard finally declared the winner in the Courtenay-Comox riding by 189 votes over B.C. Liberal candidate Jim Benninger after all the absentee ballots were counted on May 24, leaving the final provincial tally at 43 Liberals, 40 NDP and three Greens, Furstenau sees opportunity for her party and the province.

“I think this will provide opportunities on all fronts,” she said.

“We can finally move forward with good public policy in B.C. [Green Leader Andrew Weaver] is actively in negotiations with both the Liberals and the NDP and we’ve yet to see what will come from that, but I’m confident that we’ll have a much more collaborative and cooperative government in the province. A minority government will provide a lot of opportunities for a more positive political landscape here.”

Premier Christy Clark agreed that the final results of the election reinforce that British Columbians want the government to work together, across party lines, to get things done for them.

“Our priority is to protect our strong economy and to manage B.C.’s finances responsibly, while listening closely to British Columbians on how we address important social and environmental priorities and how we can make B.C. politics more responsive, transparent, and accountable,” Clark said.

“The work is just beginning. My team and I look forward to delivering positive results for British Columbians.”

NDP leader John Horgan said, however, that the election results indicate British Columbians have voted overwhelmingly to replace Christy Clark’s Liberals with a new government that works better for families.

“They voted for better schools, shorter wait times for health services, to defend our coast and to fix our broken political system,” Horgan said.

“The newly elected NDP team will be working hard every day to ensure British Columbians get a new government that works for them instead of just the wealthy and well-connected.”

As the political dust finally begins to settle from the election, Furstenau said she is already planning how she will approach her new role as the MLA for Cowichan Valley.

She said she wants to approach constituency work in a different way than her predecessors.

“When the residents of Shawnigan Lake were fighting against the contaminated soil dump, we formed teams that would work on specific aspects of our water issues,” Furstenau said.

“When we look at the pressing concerns in the Valley, including affordability, homelessness, dumps in the south end, issues with the Ministry of Children and Families and neglected roads, I think we should find people who want to get involved in looking for solutions on these issues in much the same way. I want the constituency work to be citizen-driven.”

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